The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that Texas and Louisiana can enforce their ban on Medicaid funding of Planned Parenthood. While the ruling expressly reversed decisions in Texas and Louisiana, it also affects Mississippi, which is under Fifth Circuit jurisdiction.
This decision was possible because President Donald Trump named a new judge to the federal appellate court who broke a tie in a previous ruling.
The decision by the full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed an earlier ruling by a three-judge appellate panel that blocked Texas from enforcing its ban on Medicaid funding of Planned Parenthood. It also reversed a ruling in a separate case blocking Louisiana from banning funding for the abortion giant. A three-judge panel in 2015 had ruled against the ban and that decision stood when the full court deadlocked 7-7 in 2017, when there were only 14 active judges on the court.
However, six of President Trump’s nominees now sit on the court. Four of them participated in Monday’s case and all four joined Judge Priscilla Owen’s opinion for an 11-member majority.
Judge Owen wrote that federal law “unambiguously provides that a Medicaid beneficiary has the right to obtain services from the qualified provider of her choice,” but added that it “does not unambiguously say that a beneficiary may contest or otherwise challenge a determination that the provider of her choice is unqualified.”
“These provisions make clear that a state agency may determine that a Medicaid provider is unqualified and terminate its Medicaid provider agreement even if the provider is lawfully permitted to provide health services to the general public,” Owen wrote.
In his response to the ruling, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton referred to the videos produced as a result of the undercover investigation by Sandra Merritt and David Daleiden into Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of human baby body parts. AG Paxton noted that the undercover videos had shown Planned Parenthood selling the body parts of aborted babies — a practice he called “morally bankrupt and unlawful conduct.”
“Undercover video plainly showed Planned Parenthood admitting to morally bankrupt and unlawful conduct, including violations of federal law by manipulating the timing and methods of abortions to obtain fetal tissue for their own research. Planned Parenthood is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, and it should not receive public funding through the Medicaid program,” said Paxton.
Liberty Counsel represents Sandra Merritt and has filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of the verdict in the multimillion-dollar civil lawsuit against her. From the beginning, the court severely restricted the evidence, and at the end gave instructions to the jury as to how they should rule on critical issues. The jury decided in favor of the abortion giant on each count, including RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations), and awarded more than $2 million in damages.
Sandra Merritt is also asking the California Court of Appeals to dismiss all eight remaining felony charges pending against her. The bogus criminal investigation and heavy-handed tactics began under then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris (now Senator and VP Candidate) and then her replacement, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who filed 15 charges for Merritt’s undercover journalism work in exposing Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in baby body parts. Multiple counts have already been dismissed.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Taxpayer dollars to fund human genocide is unconscionable. People should never be forced to violate their conscience and sincerely-held religious beliefs in order to pad the pockets of those who profit from trafficking baby body parts.”